Melaka: A total of 30 statues of Buddha from Gandhara kept at Brahmavihara Monastery & Retreat Centre in Melaka have prompted the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Malaysia and Dong Zen Temple to pay the monastery a visit.
Gandhara is the name of an ancient region located in northwestern Pakistan and parts of northeastern Afghanistan, famed for its unique Gandharan style of art influenced by classical Greek and Hellenistic styles.
Buddhism once thrived in the region strategically located for the spread of the religion to Central Asia and East Asia.
Bhante Dhammapala, the abbot of Brahmavihara Monastery, said the 30 Buddha statues were gifted to him by an Indian collector while he was teaching at Hong Kong University.
Bhante brought back the statues to Melaka in 2015 and relocated them to the monastery in 2020.
The monastery plans to build a gallery to house Buddha statues of different eras and other relics related to Buddhism as a way to promote the religion.
Dong Zen Temple approached Bhahmavihara Monastery for loan of the statues for an exhibition to showcase ancient statues as well as promote Buddhist archaeological sites of Pakistan.
The exhibition caught the attention of the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Malaysia Amna Baloch who led a delegation with Dong Zen Temple to pay the monastery a visit.
Baloch said the visit was a combination of an intercultural and inter-religious event.
She hoped to see tourism, education and economy between Malaysia and Pakistan further enhanced.